The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said it has canceled permits for three Austin bars following a long-term investigation into allegations of organized crime at the establishments.
TABC said the permits were pulled on April 20 for:
- La Movida Night Club Bar & Grill, 2538 Elmont Drive;
- Los Cocodrilos Bar, 9601 Interstate 35 North;
- Perikos Bar, 1611 Dungan Lane.
TABC said its Special Investigations Unit uncovered “evidence of narcotics trafficking and drink solicitation” at the locations, and agents also witnessed additional violations during their April 20 investigation.
“Drink solicitation occurs when a licensed business’ employees offer to spend time with a customer if that customer purchases a drink for them at a marked-up price,” TABC explained in a release. “The 84th Texas Legislature provided a presumption that an alcoholic beverage if sold or offered for sale was in excess of the retailer’s listed, advertised, or customary price, solicitation was presumed. The fine for solicitation is up to $1,000.00 or up to one year in confinement in the county jail or both.”
Special agents from the Texas Department of Public Safety and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations also investigated the locations on allegations of organized criminal activity, and TABC said those investigations are ongoing.
“One of TABC’s primary missions is keeping the public safe, so we view closing these locations as a win,” said Capt. Ron Swenson of TABC’s Special Investigations Unit. “Selling narcotics out of a licensed business and/or engaging in drink solicitation are serious crimes which can lead to any number of public safety as well as public welfare concerns. Closing these bars is one of many tools in our toolbox when it comes to upholding public safety.”